Wednesday, January 23, 2019
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Cyprus: An island divided

For more than 40 years, Cyprus has been a divided island amid fruitless reunification talks.

Ever since Cyprus gained independence from Britain in 1960, tension has boiled between Turkish and Greek populations on the Mediterranean island.

Violent clashes between the two groups peaked in 1964 during the battle of Tylliria when Greek forces stormed the Turkish enclave of Kokkina. After this, a United Nations peacekeeping force is set up on the island along a so-called Green Line.

In 1974 troops from Turkey invade the northern Turkish part of Cyprus in response to a Greek coup d'etat backed by the government in Athens. The Turkish military occupies a third of the island, enforcing a division between the Turkish and Greek parts of the island along the UN Green Line. A year later, an independent administration is established. 

In 1983, Rauf Denktash, president of the Turkish part of the island, suspends peace talks. The Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus (TRNC) is proclaimed. To this day, it is only recognized by Turkey.

Talks about reunification have been ongoing for decades, but have so far failed to produce results. To ensure peace, the United Nations has set up a buffer zone between the two parts of the country. The UN has denounced the large presence of Turkish troops in northern Cyprus, while the international community and the southern Greek part of Cyprus consider the northern part as occupied territory.

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